"There is no room for complacency here.
In the past few weeks, the country has made strides in its vaccination program against COVID-19. According to the Department of Health, more than 9 percent of the population has been given their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That equates to more than 10 million individuals with some protection against the virus.
Despite this progress, it does not mean that we can let our guard down. Just this week, the DOH reported the presence of delta variant cases of COVID-19 in the country. The National Capital Region, which experienced a significant decline in the number of cases in the past months, has begun recording an increasing number of cases in the past few days. Meanwhile, the IATF eased some of the restrictions as many provinces in the country have been placed under a less stringent quarantine classification.
From the alpha and now to the delta, it seems that the COVID-19 virus may take a longer time to eliminate. I understand that we have been aiming for herd immunity which would greatly facilitate the decrease in the COVID-19 cases in the country. However, the virus, as we can see, mutates, resulting in new variants which may be more transmissible, harder to treat, or worse, resistant to vaccines.
There is no room for complacency here. The fight against COVID-19 has proved to be difficult and wearisome, but we must not get comfortable with our vaccination statistics, much so with the rising number of cases and new variants. Experts reported that the delta variant is more transmissible than other variants, and in extreme cases, more lethal. In South America, there have been reports of this “lambda” variant, designated as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization.
Given this scenario, I sadly agree that restrictions must be put in place again for everyone’s sake. We cannot let a third wave begin in the country, as what Mexico is experiencing now. Prevention has always been better than cure.
Hence, I strongly urge the public, especially the youth and those belonging in the workforce, to get vaccinated. Millions of vaccines have arrived in the country this month. Getting vaccinated is one step ahead of the fight.
I also call on the government agencies, especially the IATF, to address the failure of the public to observe social distancing in markets, malls, public transportation, parks, and other public places. Apart from limiting the number of people, there should be adequate, if not, additional facilities and sufficient allocation and delivery of basic necessities to cater many people so they will not be obliged to join in the crowds. Moreover, the easing of restrictions led to crowded outdoor public places which then negates the intent of providing safe and well-ventilated spaces. Hence, policies should be reviewed.
Often, we have spent significant time dribbling the ball to see how to go about this pandemic. Now that we’re more than a year battling with this virus, we know, more or less, that restrictions have to be imposed early on to prevent its spread. We have seen the heartbreaking situation in India and Indonesia. South America, while keeping the delta variant at bay, is also now threatened by this lambda variant. With this insight, I urge the government to act more swiftly and consistently to prevent local transmission of this dreaded variant and the entry of new variants that could undermine our efforts against this disease. Lastly, protection from the disease should start with oneself. Hence, I urge everyone to take good care of their health, especially in this rainy season.